Fool proof, 5 minute, almost-no-knead bread

One thing I take great pride in, is the type of bread I feed my family. For a long time I only purchased artisan sourdough breads, but sadly our budget doesn’t stretch to $6 loaves of bread anymore. Ever since I learned about the Chorleywood bread process, I try to avoid factory made bread. Which really only leaves one option: make it myself.

Now for years I have wanted to make bread, but the lengthy timeline and kneading required really put me off. Recently a friend put me onto this recipe for no-knead bread, and it was revelation. This bread requires few ingredients, only 5 minutes TOTAL tending to it, and has flexibility with it’s timelines. I have refined the recipe a bit to make it work perfectly every time. It is that easy that anybody could have fresh made bread daily.

I recommend that you check out the original link, as she has photos, videos and lots of info (let’s face it, you are not going to get that here!).

This recipe makes 2 loaves of bread, or 1 loaf and 6 rolls, or 1 loaf and 2 pizza bases. It is so versatile, and saves even more time by allowing you to make the dough days before you need it.

Okay so my version….

Ingredients

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1.5 tbs of dried yeast*
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 6.5 cups bakers flour**

Method

  1. Measure all the ingredients into a large container with a lid. I use a decor cake container, and it’s perfect. The original recipe advises you punch a hole in the lid, but I find if there is a lot of gas the decor just pops it’s lid and it saves me ruining the container.
  2. Mix all the ingredients with a spoon, until they come together. It will look messy. At this stage I spend about 2 minutes giving it a very light knead. All I really do is bring all the ingredients into a neat ball, making it look more ‘mixed’. Have a butter knife handy to scrape the dough off your hands. Pop the lid on and put on the bench for 2 hours
  3. After the two hours you have options. If you need to leave the house you can put the container in the fridge until you need it. It will last up to 3 days. Otherwise, you can move straight onto the next step.
  4. The dough is very wet at this stage, so sprinkle some flour over the top, and over your hands. Pull the dough so you can cut it in half, then cut it with a sharp knife. Shape it into a log shape. I often do this by rolling it a little (like you would play dough), then just smoothing the ends. You really don’t need to fuss over it. Place it on a baking tray, lined with baking paper and leave for another 45mins
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut along the top of the loaf. They only need to be 2-4mm deep (Check out the picture below if you are not sure what I mean).
  6. Now here is where my method gets really quirky. Pop the bread into an oven at 180c for 20 minutes. After the 20 minutes increase the temperature to 200c for 10 minutes, This is VERY unconventional, but I find it gives a perfect cooked inside, and a crust that the kids can still chew. Following the original instructions gave me a very doughy interior, and to get it cooked properly made the crust too hard. My method will give you perfect results every time.
  7. Wait for that bad boy to cool, and have the butter handy! Enjoy.

*Use an American tablespoon, which is only 15g. This is important

**You could use plain flour, but I find bakers flour gives a much better result. I buy a massive 25kg bag, and store it in the freezer. It makes it even more economical, and means I always have flour on hand.

I wrap the loaves in thick cotton tea towels while it is still a bit warm. Keeping it wrapped like this gives it an extra day or two before it goes hard. Just check it doesn’t sweat too much. You could also store it in a brown paper bag, but you will need to eat it quickly.

It truly is an easy, tasty, healthy bread to make. Trust me, if I can cook all my family’s bread with this recipe, so can you.

20140401-221611.jpg

It’s not the prettiest loaf, but it was super yummy (and it was there!)

20140401-221623.jpg

The cut bread, wrapped in the tea towel I store it in. The crumb in this bread varies a lot. This one is not my best loaf, but has a nice dry, light crumb.

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